Marital Abandonment In Colorado

Marital Abandonment

Marital abandonment, or desertion, is a legal term that refers to the situation where one spouse leaves the marital home and the other spouse without intention of returning, without the deserted spouse’s consent, and without justification.

In Colorado, as in many jurisdictions, the concept of marital abandonment can play a role in divorce proceedings, particularly when it comes to the division of marital property, custody of children, and spousal support. However, it’s essential to note that Colorado is a no-fault divorce state, which means that a divorce can be granted without the need to prove fault, such as abandonment, adultery, or cruelty, on the part of either spouse.

No-Fault Divorce State

In a no-fault divorce state like Colorado, the only ground for divorce is the irretrievable breakdown of the marriage. This means that the court does not consider the misconduct of either spouse when deciding to grant a divorce. Instead, the focus is on whether the marriage is beyond repair.

As a result, while marital abandonment can have emotional and financial impacts, it does not, in itself, constitute a legal ground for divorce in Colorado.

Impact of Marital Abandonment

Although Colorado’s no-fault divorce laws mean that abandonment does not directly influence the granting of a divorce, it may have implications in other areas of the divorce settlement:

  • Child Custody and Visitation: The best interests of the child are paramount in determining custody and visitation rights. If one parent has abandoned the family, this may impact the court’s decision regarding custody and visitation, as it could reflect on the abandoning spouse’s reliability and commitment to the child’s welfare.
  • Spousal Support: Marital abandonment might influence the determination of spousal support (alimony). For instance, if one spouse’s desertion leaves the other in a financially precarious position, the court might consider this when deciding on spousal support amounts.
  • Division of Property: Colorado follows the principle of equitable distribution of marital property. While abandonment does not directly affect the division of assets, the circumstances surrounding the abandonment, such as one spouse taking on more financial responsibilities or the depletion of marital assets by the abandoning spouse, might be considered.

Legal Separation and Desertion

It’s important to differentiate between legal separation and abandonment. A legal separation, where both parties agree to live apart while remaining legally married, is not considered abandonment. Conversely, abandonment involves leaving without agreement, without intent to return, and without justification.

Marital Abandonment – Direct Impact

While marital abandonment carries significant emotional and legal connotations, its direct impact on divorce proceedings in Colorado is limited due to the state’s no-fault divorce laws.

However, the behaviors associated with abandonment could indirectly affect decisions regarding child custody, spousal support, and the division of property. Individuals facing such situations should seek legal advice to understand their rights and options within the context of Colorado law.

Legal professionals can offer guidance tailored to the specifics of each case, ensuring that the parties involved navigate the complexities of divorce and related legal matters effectively.




Mary Daugherty - Colorado Springs Lawyer

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